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MLB cancels All-Star Game for first time since 1945

MLB season will be ‘pretty compelling’ with 60 games only: Former player

Former MLB player Harold Reynolds discusses the MLB announcing a shortened baseball season while managing coronavirus safety.

Dodger Stadium’s 40-year wait to host the All-Star Game is going to last even longer.

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The game scheduled for July 14 was canceled Friday because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Dodger Stadium was awarded the 2022 Midsummer Classic. The 2021 game is set for Atlanta’s Truist Park, home to the Braves since 2017.

Because of the pandemic, opening day had already been delayed from March 26 to July 23 or 24.

CORONAVIRUS FORCES MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TO CANCEL SEASON

“Once it became clear we were unable to hold this year’s All-Star festivities, we wanted to award the Dodgers with the next available All-Star Game, which is 2022,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

This will be the first time since 1945 that no game will be held. Travel restrictions because of World War II kept the game scheduled for Boston’s Fenway Park and any player selections from taking place that year. It was pushed back to the next season.

The Dodgers hosted the only the Mid-Summer Classic in Dodger Stadium history in 1980, won 4-2 by the National League.

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The stadium —third-oldest in baseball behind Fenway and Chicago’s Wrigley Field — is the only park in the majors not to have increased its 56,000-seat capacity since it opened in 1962.

That’s not to say it hasn’t changed, however.

Since 2013, the stadium that overlooks downtown Los Angeles has undergone a series of structural and behind-the-scenes improvements, including two entrance plazas on the field level, tiered seating and bar areas overlooking both bullpens. The ballpark has also gotten new HD video screens and sound systems, wider concourses and renovated restrooms, kids play areas, displays to honor the franchise’s storied history, new home and visiting clubhouses and batting cages.

And that doesn’t include the $100 million in renovations that helped the Dodgers land the 2020 game. Those feature two acres of food and entertainment offerings in a new center field plaza and spruced-up outfield pavilions. Also added were elevators, escalators and bridges to improve circulation around the ballpark without changing its picturesque look and feel. The speaker tower sound system in center field is being replaced. New so-called “home run seats” are being added in front of existing outfield seats.

The coronavirus delayed the start of the season and also slowed work at the stadium. In mid-April, retired Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully narrated a brief video of the project.

“When we get back to baseball, Dodger fans will be greeted with the most significant upgrade to the fan experience in the history of our storied venue,” he said.

“When exactly will that return to Dodger Stadium take place? Well, as that noted baseball philosopher Yogi Berra once said, ‘I wish I had an answer to that because I’m tired of answering that question,‴ Scully said, chuckling.

Scully, now 92, announced the 1959 All-Star game hosted by the Dodgers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (the second such game played that year). He joined Mel Allen on the call for NBC on Aug. 3.

It was the first Mid-Summer Classic to be played on the West Coast, and also one of only two games to be played outside the month of July. The other was in 1981, when it was held on Aug. 9 because of the players’ strike.

The Dodgers also hosted the game at Ebbets Field in 1949 before they moved to the West Coast from Brooklyn.

The Dodgers have produced four different All-Star Game MVPs: Maury Wills in 1962; Steve Garvey in 1974 and ’78; Don Sutton in 1977; and Mike Piazza in 1996. From the 87-year-old Wills to the 51-year-old Piazza, all are still living and may have played a part in this year’s festivities.

Scully would surely have made an appearance, either in person or via video, where he has turned up several times since retiring in 2016. He and Brent Musburger worked the 1980 game in LA for CBS radio.

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The Dodgers had been planning to host the 91st All-Star Game since being chosen in 2018. They sent teams of planners to Washington, D.C., in 2018 and Cleveland last year to study what did and didn’t work for those host cities.

Besides the Futures Game, Home Run Derby and All-Star Game over three days at the stadium, there would have been a Fan Fest and other events and commercial tie-ins around the game.

In February 2018, the Los Angeles City Council estimated an economic impact of $89.4 million from hosting the game. The Dodgers had committed to paying $100,000 for city services needed as part of the game.

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Ohio school district to retire ‘Redskins’ name for sports teams

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Fox Nation host Abby Hornacek says the National Football League will do whatever it takes to make its season start on time.

An Ohio school district has decided that its high school sports teams should no longer be known as the Redskins.

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The Forest Hills Board of Education voted 4-1 on Thursday to “retire” the name and mascot at Anderson High School. A new name has not been chosen, and officials plan to soon announce a timeline and process for how a new name and mascot will be selected.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS TO REVIEW TEAM NAME, CONSIDER CHANGE AMID SPONSOR PUSHBACK

The Redskins logo will be phased out in stages beginning in the 2020-21 school year, officials said. Anderson Township is an eastern Cincinnati suburb.

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Board members had discussed the name change at length during a meeting on Tuesday, with some noting they had resisted efforts to change the name in recent years but now felt it had become too divisive.

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Board member Patty Taylor cast the lone vote against the motion, saying it should be postponed because there has been little public discussion on the matter outside of emails.

Taylor said the decision should go to a public vote and also voiced concerns about the cost of removing imagery from the school.

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Amid the national reckoning with racial injustice, pressure has been mounting on schools to abandon the name called a “dictionary-defined racial slur” by experts and advocates.

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Washington Redskins to review team name, consider change amid sponsor pushback

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The Washington Redskins will review their team name and consider a potential change after FedEx and other sponsors pressured the franchise, the team announced Friday.

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Officials said the review “formalizes the initial discussion the team has been having with the league in recent weeks.” Critics, including Native American groups, have long argued that the Redskins team name and logo are racist.

NIKE PULLS WASHINGTON REDSKINS APPAREL FROM WEBSITE

“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” team owner Dan Snyder said in a statement.

The announcement comes one day after FedEx, the naming rights partner on Washington's home stadium, asked the team to change its name. Nike, the official supplier of NFL uniforms and sideline gear, scrubbed Redskins apparel from its website.

FEDEX ASKS WASHINGTON REDSKINS TO CHANGE TEAM NAME

The NFL's Washington franchise adopted its current team name in 1933. Snyder has said for years that he would never change the name. As recently as January 2018, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said a name change was unlikely to occur.

Goodell expressed support for the team's decision to review the name in a statement Friday.

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"In the last few weeks we have had ongoing discussions with Dan and we are supportive of this important step," Goodell said in the statement.

Redskins officials have been under mounting pressure to consider a change amid nationwide protests against racial injustice. Earlier this week, a group of 87 investment firms, with assets worth a combined $620 billion, sent separate letters to three key team sponsors — FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo.

In the letters, the firms urged each sponsor to pressure Washington officials to change the name and sever business ties if they refused to comply.

On Thursday, FedEx said that it had asked the team to drop the Redskins name. FedEX CEO Fred Smith holds a minority ownership stake in the franchise.

“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” FedEx said in a statement.

PepsiCo, one of Washington's title sponsors, praised the team's decision to conduct a review.

“We have been in conversations with the NFL and Washington management for a few weeks about this issue. We believe it is time for a change," a PepsiCo representative told FOX Business. "We are pleased to see the steps the team announced today, and we look forward to continued partnership.”

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More in S'pore getting on bikes

Like many shops in Singapore, Cycleworx saw a dip in sales revenue over the April 7-June 1 circuit breaker when most retail outlets had to be shut. But the bicycle shop has since recovered, with co-owner Kenneth Tan estimating a 50 per cent increase in sales since resuming operations on June 2.

The 53-year-old, who said there was a 30-40 per cent drop in sales, observed a rising interest in cycling over the circuit breaker, when sports facilities were not allowed to open.

“There were a lot of enquiries, up to four or five Facebook messages a day, but we couldn’t sell, we could only do urgent repairs like when the battery dies or you break a spoke,” said Tan, adding that the shop has been enjoyed good business since reopening, and that customers are allocated time slots.

“There are always people coming in to service bikes. Last time if I’m lucky I’d get one or two a week, now there’s one or two people a day. People also started buying bikes. Those who were sitting on the fence and undecided (before the circuit breaker) came and bought bikes.”

The number of cycling-related transactions increased over the first quarter of the year as compared to last year, said OCBC’s head of group customer analytics and decisioning Donald MacDonald.

Expenditure on cycling has also seen a month-on-month increase in the first quarter of this year.

There was a 46 per cent increase from February to March before a drop in sales the following month, as shops were closed during the circuit breaker period.

Cycling enthusiasts here also noted an increase in the number of people cycling outdoors, as they believe most are eager to leave their homes and get moving after a period of being cooped up indoors.

National cyclist Goh Choon Huat estimated a 10 to 20 per cent rise in the number of cyclists on the roads.

Lawyer Roger Allingham, who cycles with local team Allied World Treknology3, noted roads were used by individual cyclists who were making the most of lighter traffic during the circuit breaker.

Goh, 29, added: “It wasn’t crowded because everyone was still respecting the rules of social distancing.

“It’s good to see the cycling community expanding and everyone adopting this as a healthy lifestyle.”

Engineer Peter Yap increased his weekly mileage from 200km to 260km during the circuit breaker.

The 55-year-old, who cycles thrice a week, appreciated that cyclists are not required to wear masks, allowing him to breathe easier while exercising.

He added: “It is (enjoyable) but the fact that you’re not able to ride with a group means you have to have determination to do long distances by yourself.

“Cycling has helped maintain my health and it also reduces stress.”

Read the latest on the Covid-19 situation in Singapore and beyond on our dedicated site here.

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NBA coronavirus 'bubble' for season restart costs $150M: Report

NBA season to resume on July 31st

After halting due to coronavirus, the 2020 NBA season is set to begin on July 31.

The NBA will shell out more than $150 million over three months to operate its “bubble” environment at Walt Disney World resort in Florida during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report Wednesday.

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League officials have developed a comprehensive health and safety plan to protect employees and members of the 22 teams that will participate in the season restart beginning on July 30. The NBA’s expenses include meals, daily entertainment, COVID-19 testing and various other measures laid out in their 100-page plan to safely resume play, ESPN reported.

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"It comes into play that we feel an obligation to our sport and to the industry to find a new normal," NBA commissioner Adam Silver told Time magazine at a forum earlier this week. "It doesn't come into play in terms of dollars and cents because, frankly, it's not all that economical for us to play on this campus. It's enormously expensive."

The NBA hasn’t played since mid-March when the worsening pandemic made games a public health hazard. The 22 participating teams will play games without fans in attendance at three courts on Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex.

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The NBA is projecting losses in revenue of more than $1 billion due to the impact of coronavirus. The season restart will help to preserve revenue from the NBA’s lucrative media rights deals.

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NBA players and staffers are prohibited from leaving the bubble on the Disney campus once they enter. Any player who breaks protocol will have to self-quarantine for 10 days and test negative for COVID-19 before returning to play.

Several players have opted out of the restart, citing concerns related to health and the possibility that a resumption of NBA play would distract from social justice issues.

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#GameOfTwoHalves Podcast: Difficulties faced as sports begin to restart around the world

#GameOfTwoHalves Ep 87: Difficulties faced as sports begin to restart around the world

11:22 mins

Synopsis: #GameofTwoHalves is The Straits Times’ weekly sports podcast that is out every Tuesday.

Money FM’s Rachel Kelly calls up ST sports reporter Nicole Chia and sports correspondent Sazali Abdul Aziz.

They discuss the following topics in the first and second halves of this episode:

1. Singapore sport is beginning to emerge from the Covid-19 break with some of the country’s Olympics and Paralympics-bound athletes resuming training last week. How different were the training conditions for the athletes fortunate enough to get back into action last week? What was their reaction to the safe distancing measures in place and were there any other difficulties that the athletes faced?

2. The football fraternity faces a list of challenges as it tries to get the SPL restarted. What are some of the main challenges and what are players and officials saying about the resumption?
Produced by: ST Sports Desk

Edited by: Aw Yao Feng, Nadiah Koh & Penelope Lee

Follow #GameOfTwoHalves podcasts and rate us on:

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Website: http://str.sg/stpodcasts

Feedback to: [email protected]

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Bobby Bonilla's Mets contract: Why ex-MLB star gets $1.19M annually until he's 72 years old

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Sources tell FOX Business’ Charlie Gasparino Florida Panthers owner Vincent Viola is weighing joining retired MLB player Alex Rodriguez in a bid for the New York Mets.

Many New York Mets fans refer to July 1 as “Bobby Bonilla Day,” thanks to an infamous contract stipulation that requires the franchise to pay its 56-year-old former slugger more than $1.1 million per year through the year 2035.

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The payments stem from an agreement the Mets and Bonilla reached to buy out his contract in 2000. At the time, the Mets, who owed Bonilla $5.9 million, agreed to pay him the money in annual installments over a 25-year period that stretches from 2011 until 2035.

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When factoring in a pre-negotiated 8 percent interest rate, the Mets owe Bonilla about $1.19 million every year on July 1. Bonilla, who hasn’t played in the major leagues since the 2001 season, will keep earning money from the Mets until he’s 72 years old.

Bonilla received more money today than several active members of the Mets will receive in salary for the entire 2019 season. All-Star selections Jeff McNeil ($567K) and Pete Alonso ($555K) both earn significantly less than Bonilla.

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Deferred money contracts are a relatively common arrangement in professional sports, especially baseball. Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, a former Cy Young winner, signed a 7-year, $210 million contract in 2015 that included $105 million in deferred money, to be paid out in installments through 2028.

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A six-time All Star selection, Bonilla was considered one of baseball’s most feared hitters in his prime. But in his final stint with the Mets in 1999, he hit just .160 with 4 home runs and 18 RBIs over 60 games.

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Khan's hard work pays off

He usually has his next opponent in his cross hairs but on the first weekend of Singapore’s move to Phase 2 on June 19, local mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Amir Khan’s sights were set on something else: a thick, juicy burger and some golden fries.

And who could blame him? The 25-year-old One Championship fighter had gone over 100 days during the circuit breaker period eating healthily and training every single day, as part of a #75hard challenge he had taken on.

The rules of the 75-day challenge included working out twice a day for at least 45 minutes each time, eating healthily and drinking a gallon (3.8 litres) of water a day.

“It really tests you mentally,” said Amir, who trains at Evolve MMA.

“I’m home every day so it’s easy to let go (and) I actually failed the challenge once. I was on a 30-day streak initially, failed and rested for 2 days, and had to start the 75-day challenge all over again.”

The #75hard challenge was just one of the things he kept himself busy with during the circuit breaker period, which began in April as part of the Government’s efforts to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

He had come off a defeat against Japanese fighter Kimihiro Eto in February – the fourth loss in his last five fights – and knew he needed to do something to rediscover the form and fire that made him a lightweight title contender, and one of One’s brightest prospects.

His answer? Going back to basics.

“I often sent our Evolve MMA head coach, Siyar Bahadurzada, videos of my shadow boxing,” he said.

“He’s also the one who told me to take this time to sharpen my basics and to do them repeatedly for one to two weeks as it takes repetition in order to form good habits.

“Once I have a strong and solid foundation, my overall game will gradually improve.”

GOOD JOB

I’ve improved and fully utilised the time in lockdown to emerge as a different fighter.

AMIR KHAN, on his modified regimen.

The lack of resources at home meant he had to improvise, and the multi-storey carpark near his home became his makeshift gym.

That was where he did shadow boxing, sprints, and drills with the agility ladder and medicine ball.

It was also where he taped pads to a pillar, and practised his striking while building up his conditioning.

“It’s called threshold conditioning,” he explained, adding that he would do five minutes at a high pace, rest one minute, and do three rounds.

“I pushed for maximum effort within a short period of time (because) I want to be able to maintain a high power output for a long period.”

He believes all the sacrifice he put in will pay dividends as he looks to re-establish himself near the top of One Championship.

Already, he feels sharper after returning to Evolve on June 22 as part of its fighters’ programme.

While he does not know when his next fight will be or who it will be against, Amir added: “I’ve improved and fully utilised the time in lockdown to emerge as a different fighter. I can’t wait to get back in the cage.”

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'We were wrong': NFL's Goodell regrets stance on player protests

NFL commissioner’s comment comes after 18 players release video demanding the league condemn racism.

Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the United States’s National Football League (NFL), has said the league made mistakes in not listening to players, in a video denouncing racism in the country amid widespread protests over police brutality against Black people.

“We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” Goodell said in the video published on Friday.

“We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”

The NFL sent the video out a day after 2018 NFL Most Valuable Player Patrick Mahomes and several of his peers released a video demanding the league condemn racism.

George Floyd’s death has ignited nationwide protests over racial injustice and police brutality, issues former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began speaking out against in 2016 when he started taking a knee during the national anthem.

Kaepernick, who in 2013 led the Niners to the Super Bowl but lost to the Baltimore Ravens, has since gone unsigned by any NFL team.

“Protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of Black players, coaches, fans and staff,” said Goodell. “I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve.”

Exavier Pope, a Chicago-based lawyer, described Goodell’s move as a “hollow” and “PR” stunt.

“He’s responding to what players have said, not to the player who started it all, Colin Kaepernick. Rodger Goodell is afraid that the same protests that have gripped our cities across America would grip NFL stadiums when NFL season begins,” said Pope.

If Goodell was really sincere, about his apology he should “ask all 32-member team owners at the National Football League to issue a written apology to Colin Kaepernick” and give the former quarterback a job, said Pope.

A total of 18 NFL players participated in the 71-second video released on Thursday called Stronger Together.

Michael Thomas, the star receiver of the New Orleans Saints, opened the video by saying, “It’s been 10 days since George Floyd was brutally murdered,” before players later took turns saying, “What if I was George Floyd?”

Later, the players spoke in unison: “So on behalf of the National Football League, this is what we, the players, would like to hear you state. We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systemic oppression of Black people. We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”

The NFL’s social-justice troubles reached a peak early in the 2017 season when US President Donald Trump called for owners to get any “son of a bitch” off the field who did not stand for the anthem.

Earlier on Friday, Trump again renewed his call for an end to kneeling protests during the national anthem.

“We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag – NO KNEELING!”

The statement was a response to quarterback Drew Brees, who apologised this week for equating the kneeling protest with disrespecting the US flag.

The league also faced criticism earlier this year when just one of five head coaching vacancies went to a non-white candidate in the most recent hiring cycle, and last month the NFL introduced rules designed to boost racial diversity among coaching staff.


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#STayHome Workout: Use your chair for more than just sitting

WARM UP

Hold each stretch for eight counts. Do two sets.

Tip: Stretch only to the point of mild discomfort.

1. NECK STRETCHES

Put your hands together under your chin and stretch upwards.

Next, put your hands above your head and push downwards to stretch.

Use two fingers on your right hand and tilt your head sideways (opposite side) and stretch.

Now stretch vice versa.

2. SHOULDER ROTATION

Hold your arms out to the side in 90 degrees, move your shoulders forward in a circular, controlled manner.

Next, reverse direction.

3. CROSS BODY SHOULDER STRETCH

Cross your right arm to the left and use your left arm to hook it underneath towards you. You should feel the stretch on your shoulders.

Now stretch the opposite arm.

4. OVERHEAD SIDE STRETCH

Raise your right arm and stretch to the opposite side.

Return to the neutral position and stretch on the other side.

WORK OUT

Equipment: A chair. Ensure that it is stable throughout the exercise.

1. BACK STRETCH USING A CHAIR

Hold the back of the chair and walk backwards slowly, until your trunk is about 90 degrees (torso facing the ground).

Tuck in your chin and straighten your back. Maintain slight bend in your knees.

Move forward to start position.

Repeat this process.

2. HAMSTRING STRETCH

Sit on the chair. Move forward to the edge but still ensure you are in a stable position.

Stretch out your right leg, making sure your toes point upwards.

Next, lean forward and reach for your toes.

Repeat this process for the other side.

3. SEATED GLUTE STRETCH

Sit on a chair. Clasp both hands over your right knee and pull it back to your chest.

Repeat for other leg.

4. SEATED CALF RAISE

Tip: Do three sets of this. Make sure that you are seated in an upright position and both feet are flat on the floor.

Point your toes so that your heel comes off the ground. Hold the contraction for one second before returning to start position.

SAFETY TIP

Exercise at your own pace. Stop immediately if you feel unwell. If symptoms persist, see a doctor.

Read the latest on the Covid-19 situation in Singapore and beyond on our dedicated site here.

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